New video: ‘Love, Simon’ and ‘Year of Spectacular Men’
New on Blu-ray
“Love, Simon” (20th Century Fox DVD, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.99; 4K, $39.99; also on VOD)
Too many recent high-school rom-coms feel like pale copies of ’80s movies, but director Greg Berlanti’s adaptation of Becky Albertalli’s YA bestseller “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” feels very much like a film of the 2010s — right down to its Bleachers-heavy soundtrack. Nick Robinson stars as Simon, a gay teen weighing the pros and cons of coming out, while dealing with escalating social media gossip about himself and his friends. “Love, Simon” is undeniably formulaic, relying on contrived situations and stock characters. But the formula works. This picture is sweet and engaging, with a real understanding of how adolescent melodrama does and doesn’t change from generation to generation.
Special features: A commentary track, deleted scenes and featurettes
“The Year of Spectacular Men” (available Friday)
A real family project, the indie comedy “The Year of Spectacular Men” stars Madelyn Deutch (who also wrote the script) as Izzy, an aimless millennial who dates a succession of losers while living with her successful model-actress sister Sabrina, played by Zoey Deutch. The movie is produced by Howard Deutch and directed by Lea Thompson — Madelyn and Zoey’s parents — and the decades of Hollywood experience in play, coupled with the cast and creators’ intimate connection, helps turn a ramshackle collection of amusingly awkward romantic vignettes into something with spark. Not everything works, but the Deutch sisters are a delight in every scene they share, and Madelyn has an unusual screen presence and a feel for the absurd that marks this 27-year-old as a talent to watch.
TV set of the week
“Menace & Murder: A Lynda La Plante Collection” (Acorn DVD, $59.99)
Writer Lynda La Plante is responsible for some of the best British crime TV of all time, including “Prime Suspect” and “Trial and Retribution.” The box set “Menace & Murder: A Lynda La Plante Collection” brings together three of La Plante’s lesser-known shows, featuring contributions from actors who’ve gone on to impressive careers. “Supply and Demand” stars Eamonn Walker as an undercover cop taking on some of the department’s most dangerous missions. “Killer Net” features Paul Bettany in a story about college students whose online shenanigans put them in the path of a serial killer. And in “Mind Games,” Fiona Shaw plays a criminal profiler on a case involving a young man played by Chiwetel Ejiofor.
From the archives
“Six Films by Nikolaus Geyrhalter” (Icarus/KimStim DVD/Blu-ray, $74.98)
The box set “Six Films by Nikolaus Geyrhalter” is anchored by a new Blu-ray edition of the Austrian documentarian’s best-known work: 2005’s “Our Daily Bread,” a darkly mesmerizing look at how the global food industry relies on grueling human labor and cruelty to animals. This collection presents a broad overview of Geyrhalter’s themes and style: from the more conventionally journalistic “Pripyat” (which interviews residents of Chernobyl, a decade after the disaster), “Over the Years” (which tracks the last employees of a failing textile mill from pre- to post-closure) and “Elsewhere” (which visits 12 communities way off the grid); to the more abstract “Abendland” (which stares silently at the people who work at night to keep Europe going) and what may be Geyrhalter’s ultimate statement-of-purpose, “Homo Sapiens” (consisting or entirely static shots of abandoned facilities).
Special features: Interviews with Geyrhalter
Three more to see
“I Can Only Imagine” (Lionsgate DVD, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.99; also available on VOD); “Loveless” (Sony Blu-ray, $30.99; also available on VOD); “The Strangers: Prey at Night” (Universal DVD, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98, also available on VOD)
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